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Am J Sports Med. 2019 Feb;47(2):379-388. doi: 10.1177/0363546518816689. Epub 2018 Dec 31.

Superior Capsule Reconstruction for Reinforcement of Arthroscopic Rotator Cuff Repair Improves Cuff Integrity.

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Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Osaka Medical College, Takatsuki, Japan.
Orthopaedic Biomechanics Laboratory, Congress Medical Foundation, Pasadena, California, USA.
Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of California, Irvine, California, USA.
Katsuragi Hospital, Kishiwada, Japan.



Retear of repaired rotator cuff tendons worsens patient outcome and decreases patient satisfaction. Superior capsule reconstruction (SCR) was developed to center the humeral head and thus restore the force couple for patients with rotator cuff tears.


To evaluate whether SCR for reinforcement before arthroscopic rotator cuff repair (ARCR) improves cuff integrity.


Cohort study; Level of evidence, 3.


Thirty-four consecutive patients (mean age, 69.1 years) with severely degenerated but reparable rotator cuff tears underwent SCR with fascia lata autografts for reinforcement before ARCR. All tears were medium (1-3 cm) or large (3-5 cm), and the number of torn tendons was 2 (supraspinatus and infraspinatus) in 29 shoulders and 3 (supraspinatus, infraspinatus, subscapularis) in 5 shoulders. To assess the benefit of SCR for reinforcement, all data were compared with those after ARCR alone among 91 consecutive patients with medium or large rotator cuff tears (mean age, 63.6 years). The American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons (ASES) and Japanese Orthopaedic Association (JOA) scores, active shoulder range of motion, and cuff integrity (Sugaya magnetic resonance imaging classification) were compared ( t test and chi-square test) between ARCR with and without SCR, as well as before surgery and at final follow-up.


All 34 patients who underwent SCR before ARCR had neither postoperative retear nor type III cuff integrity, whereas those treated with ARCR alone had a 4% incidence (4 of 91) of retear and 8% incidence of type III cuff integrity. ASES and JOA scores, active elevation, active external rotation, and active internal rotation increased in both treatment groups ( P < .001). Postoperative ASES score and active range of motion did not differ between groups, although the Goutallier grade of the supraspinatus was higher for ARCR with SCR (mean, 2.8) than ARCR alone (mean, 2.1; P < .0001).


SCR for reinforcement prevented retear at 1 year after ARCR and improved the quality of the repaired tendon on magnetic resonance imaging. Functional outcomes were similar between groups, even though degeneration of the torn tendons was greater among patients who underwent ARCR with SCR.


cuff integrity; reconstruction; reinforcement; rotator cuff; superior capsule; tear


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